Tag Archives: reader

Amazon, Ebooks, and Advertising

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There has been a lot of mixed reactions toward Amazon putting advertisements on Kindle, especially when it was first launched in 2011. Today I wish to bring this issue back into the spotlight and invite you to re-examine it together.

In the article Why Advertising Could Become Amazon’s Knockout Punch attributes Kindle’s popularity partially to Amazon’s Special Offer, as it “lowered the price of the device” and presumably would not interfere your reading experience (which the advertisers find very reasonable and worthy of their money, of course).  Wikert then predicts that Amazon’s next step might be making money on in-book ads. He explains his theory by explaining Amazon’s wholesale model of publishing, and even goes on predicting that Amazon “would love to see ebook pricing approach zero” — which can be realised with in-book advertising strategy. All of this will eventually help Amazon “eliminate competitors” and obtain to market dominance”, as it has been doing in the past four years.

Jamie Lending takes a quite strong stance and describes Amazon Kindle Special Offers as a disgrace. “Unobtrusive” and “never in your reading experience”, says an Amazon spokesman in response to Lending’s complaint, but many readers still find the ad-free version irresistible despite the fact that they have to pay extra 30USD. While Amazon frames it as a Kindle user’s choice, Lending argues that the company takes away the “ultimate control” over ad exposure.

, in his article Ads on Kindle Fire HD tablets: Bad news or just business?, presents argument from both sides and comments that the subsidy of being able to control “is financial in nature”. Tofel’s opinion differs from Lending in the sense that he believes readers still retain some choice.

Is this really a question of whether consumers are willing to pay or whether they can afford it? And what exactly does it mean to publishers and authors?

Image Credit: Yahoo

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Why I Heart the Bookternet

“At your average book publisher, 10 years ago was a time before the internet.” Rachel Fershleiser, who now works on Tumblr’s outreach team, helps authors and publishers reach new audiences. Rachel takes us through an evolution from reading and writing as entirely “solitary pursuits” to the development of online tools that enable collaboration and community. She shares great stories and innovations that connect readers and writers like never before, in a publishing industry that is becoming more democratized and accessible.

What has actually happened in the past ten years of publishing, with the emergence of digital community? Are books and the Internet really in opposition to each other? And what will the next ten years of publishing be like, with the technologies that are here to stay and more business models on the rise?

Video Credit: TEDxGowanus

Future of Audiobooks & Global Trends for 2015

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, a Publishing student at Bath Spa University, explores the future of audiobook publishing in a module Digital Publishing. She examines the unpopularity of audiobooks among publishers (in comparison with ebooks), and claims that it may be attributed to “a lack of adequate financial return”. However, Maynard points out that audiobooks are not yet doomed because they are easy to incorporate into people’s busy lifestyles, and publishers who identify audiobooks’ potential have been attempting to overcome many hurdles. She evaluates the current situation of a few major audiobook publishers, and brings our attention to the importance or good narrators, who can “breathe life into stories”.

Additionally, Michael Kozlowski sheds light on Global Audiobook Trends for 2015. He also introduces some interesting facts and figures about the current audiobook industry, with a focus on the industry leader Audible, and shares his views on how audiobooks works  differently than e-books on a business level.

The audiobook market is still booming, although it is yet to arise as a popular form of “reading” when the whole world is eager to witness the competition between print books and ebooks. But there’s one thing that we can be sure about: the development of audiobook industry is transforming itself, and it may even transform our definition of publishing and reading once again.

Image Credit: Good E-Reader

Publishing Facts: Featuring US & UK Publishing Industries

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Pete Klein writes about some Publishing Facts which features the U.S. publishing industry in 2014. He provides statistics about books being published and sold, as well as information related to traditional publishing, Amazon publishing, and Print on Demand (POD) publishing

Creative Industries UK quotes from Publishers’ Association website and reports a series of informative facts and figures about UK publishing industry, which is said to be “highly productive”, “highly successful in overseas markets”, and innovative.

 

Image Credit: DomGreco.com 

 

Perks, Pitfalls, and Paradoxes of Amazon Publishing

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Nina Shapiro discusses how Amazon has created a new model of publishing, and how this new model will impact the authors. Her article The Perks, Pitfalls, and Paradoxes of Amazon Publishing sheds light on the much controversial change that Amazon has brought to the publishing industry in the past decade.

The article begins with the publishing endeavours of an author, Megan Chance, who was convinced that she had fallen into the “vicious cycle common to the publishing world”. Having signed up with Amazon Publishing, Chance witnessed the Amazon team utilising all their online resources and making her latest book a great sale. But all success comes at a cost, and for Chance, it involves not seeing her books in stores, “sacrificing prestige in the traditional, New York­-based literary world”, and some recognition in the rest of the world, because Amazon’s publishing model is “almost entirely self-contained.” The model that Amazon Publishing created has not won the reputation that it aspired in more than a few ways, but it has proved “surprisingly profitable” for authors who seek self-publishing as an alternative to traditional publishing houses.

However, Shapiro points out that some authors realise the model is not working for them; “… the hurdles to success, especially in the self-publishing market, are getting harder by the day.” Stories of a few more authors with Amazon experience were discussed. With some part of the publishing world starting to call Amazon “monopoly”, some author organisations are even preparing to take it to court while others grow a more supporting voice.

Shapiro describes Amazon Publishing — and what it will achieve — as an unfolding tale. The division now seeks opportunities in not only self-publishing, but also “republishing out-of-print books”, and introducing foreign language books into the English literary world (via translations imprint Amazon Crossing). As Amazon Publishing declares more competition with major publishers, many wonder if “gold rush is over.” As  Bob Mayer, a publishing practitioner and writer, points out: “It’s the best time ever to be an author since there are so many options. But it’s as hard as ever to succeed long term.”

Image Credit: Morgen Schuler for Seattle Weekly 

The Life Cycle of A Book

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This picture illustrates the (traditional?) publishing process, which involves four major parties and twelve steps. If authors take the self-publishing approach, some steps (e.g. Agent) might be optional; if only e-book version is produced (whether on the author’s own website or under contract with publishing platforms like Amazon), then details of the Distribution step will also alter. In addition, the “Print on Demand” (POD) model is bound to have a great impact on the distribution process.

I personally think that these days it will be necessary to draw a direct link between “Writer” and “Book Buyer”/”Reader”. With online platforms like Goodreads, Amazon, and various blogging sites, writers and readers now can easily engage with each other in the life cycle of a book. Wouldn’t it be a great way to promote book sales if reading becomes more interactive?

Image Credict: International Book Promotion

A Competition: Publishers vs. Readers

Johanna Vondeling gives a speech about her observation of the global publishing industry while working in Perth, Australia.

According to Vondeling, the rapid change that publishing industry faces today comes from “the explosion of self-publishing”, “the emergence of new technologies and new business models”, “globalisation of the industry”, and even some “fundamental changes in consumption habits”. These changes have brought about unprecedented challenges in the industry. She encourages the global publishers to invest more in digital publishing to embrace the new trends, while maintaining traditional publishing practices.

The most interesting point that Vondeling has made is that publishers these days are not just competing with each other or self-publishing authors, but are really competing with the attention of readers, who are believed to spend less and less time on reading due to distraction of emerging electronic devices and more diversified sources of information. Concerns of this phenomenon can be found beyond the publishing industry; as people devote more time to their smartphones and laptop entertainments, they are deprived of the time they used to spend exercising, meditating, family gathering, and even sleeping. What we are witnessing is a fundamental change of modern lifestyle that has been going on globally in the past decade. Traditional publishers will need to think about adjusting their strategies in business decision making before the change is too overwhelming to digest.

Video Credit: Berrett-Koehler Publishers